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Unconfessed sin

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by TruelightUK, Jun 10, 2002.

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  1. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

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    I already posed this question in the Purgatory thread, but it seems to have got somewhat lost, so I'll ask it again - addressed mostly to the 'protestants' and Baptists among us:

    What do you believe happens about sins committed after conversion, which remain unconfessed?

    John's 1st epistle tells us that "if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". But what if we don't confess our sins - or at least some of them? The implication is, surely, that they remain unforgiven and uncleansed?

    If we die with those sins still unconfessed, can we then stand in the presence of a holy God, without some form of cleansing taking place? If it hasn't taken place in this life, through our confession, then, clearly, it must either take place 'in the next life', or not at all.

    So, as Bible believing Christians, how do you see the problem being dealt with? Or is it not a problem, being already unconditionally taken care of by our initial faith in Chrisxt's shed blood (in which case why bother confessing our sins!)?

    Anthony
     
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  2. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
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    To Truelight:

    The "hardline" OSAS school of thought says that when you are "saved," that all sins, past, present and FUTURE are forgiven.

    I envision someone sinning while professing Christ, and then giving a little salute towards Heaven saying, "Hey, God, remember? I'm SAVED."

    In my book, that is somewhat (!) presumptuous. The sins are indeed paid for through the Cross, but the deadly sins of PRIDE or GREED (or even SLOTH, as if we are too "lazy" to apologize!) seem to sneak in if we are not repentant. Our sins, whether they are committed before or after "being saved," still wound God, and we certainly owe him our repentance.

    But that, of course, is my opinion.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  3. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

    441
    +1
    I tend to sympathise with your view, VOW! But I'm still waiting for an answer from the avowed Protestants on this one!

    Anthony
     
  4. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    1 John 1:9 and true confession of sins

    When Christians sin today, their normal response is to confess their sin to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. Then, they hope that God will forgive them (perhaps after perfroming some sort of penance), not punish them and fellowship with them again.

    The common belief is that when you are born again, only your past sins and are forgiven. From then on, whenever you sin, you must ask for forgiveness in order to be forgiven and to be right with God again.

    Because of this, new Christians are quickly taught to remember and use this verse:

    1 John 1:9 -- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    But is that how this verse is to be understood?

    Rightly dividing the Word

    2 Timothy 2:15 -- Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    While every letter and punctuation in the Bible is God-breathed, not every verse is written to the church. For example, God's instructions to Moses regarding animal sacrifices in Leviticus do not apply to the church. While we can still read them and learn plenty about types and shadows of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God and the final sacrifice, the rules are not given to us but to the Jews who were under Law then.

    Jesus himself rightly divided the Word:

    Matthew 5:38,39 -- Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

    The teaching of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" is found in Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21. But since Jesus came to establish a better covenant of grace, He taught His people to "turn the other cheek". Today, the church practises "turning the other cheek", not "an eye for an eye", although the latter is instructed in the Bible.

    The simplest way to rightly divide the Word is to "filter" whatever we read -- before the cross -- through the cross. In other words, interpret a verse in light of what Jesus Christ has accomplished on the cross. We should not read and interpret scriptures as though Jesus did not die and rise again!

    So, for a start, we should ask ourselves if 1 John 1:9 is addressing Christians.

    A simple test

    If you have a PC or Mac Bible, do a word search for "forgive", "forgiving", "forgiven", "forgave" and "forgiveness" in the New Testament. Go through the list of verses that your computer generates.

    You will find that after the cross, it is always "forgiven", "forgave" and "have forgiveness"! Before the cross, it is "forgive or you will not be forgiven" or "forgive to be forgiven". There is a world of difference, and Jesus' death and resurrection made that difference!

    Here is one example:

    Before the cross...

    Mark 11:25 -- And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

    After the cross...

    Colossians 3:13 -- Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

    Have you ever wondered why Abraham's mistakes are not mentioned in Hebrews (after the cross)? It is as though the Holy Spirit, when portraying Abraham as a hero of faith, "forgot" about his failures. But the Holy Spirit did so rightly, being faithful to the risen Christ, who wiped out our sins and bought us forgiveness with His blood! In fact, the Bible says that because of Jesus' sacrifice, God does not remember our sins (2 Corinthians 5:19, Romans 4:8, Hebrews 8:12 and Hebrews 10:17). It is no wonder Abraham's mistakes are not recorded.

    All or nothing

    Many Christians think of sin as murder, adultery, homosexualism, cheating -- the "big" sins. But God says that anything that is not of faith is sin!

    Romans 14:23 -- And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

    So, doing something out of worry or fear is a sin. Undressing a woman in your mind is also a sin. Coveting your neighbour's new car is also a sin. There is no end to it!

    Since this is the truth of the matter, we must also ask ourselves if it is possible to confess every sin we commit. The answer is obvious. Many a times, we don't even know it when we sin!

    Some might argue that we only confess the sins that we are aware of, but that is simply "picking and choosing", and insulting the perfect holiness of God -- assuming that God will "close one eye" on the other sins.

    Let's face it, if we want to go down the road of confessing sins to be forgiven and to be right with God, we won't make it. It will take all day and we will still not be totally "clean"!

    Once for all

    One reason why I believe 1 John 1:9 is not directed at Christians but non-believers is because it says "cleanse us from all unrighteousness". That can only happen once in the life of the believer -- when he was born again. So, it does not make sense for Christians, who are already righteous by the blood of Christ, to again be "cleansed from all unrighteousness", and over and over again, every time they sin.

    The moment we were saved, Jesus wiped out our past, present and future sins. All our sins were forgiven, from the time we were born to the time we pass on.

    Colossians 2:13 -- And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

    Jesus' sacrifice was "once for all". In Hebrews 10, Paul was saying that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away the offerer's sins once for all, which is why the sinner had to offer animal sacrifices year after year. Then he goes on to say how it is different with the blood of Jesus -- that His blood cleanses once for all, so that we don't have to continuously offer sacrifices (or confessions!) to be cleansed, over and over again.

    Hebrews 10:2 [NIV] -- If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.

    Hebrews 10:10 [NIV] -- And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    So, if we have to "offer" confessions day after day to stay clean, we are actually regressing into the system of animal sacrifices and insulting the blood of Christ. Worse, we would be implying that the Jews, who were under an inferior covenant, had it better than us, who are under a superior covenant, since the blood of bulls and goats they offered was good for an entire year, whereas the blood of Jesus we have is good only until the next time we sin!

    Past, present and future sins

    Many Christians think that only their past sins were forgiven when they were saved. But this illogical. Jesus was crucified some 2,000 years ago, so all their sins had to be future then!

    Think about it: Suppose John was born again in 1980, Mary in 1990 and Peter in 2000. If only their past sins were forgiven, then it would mean that Christ left out John's sins after 1980 but somehow remembered to bear Mary's sins after 1980, yet forgot to bear her sins after 1990, but bore Peter's sins after 1990, yet only up to 2000. Can you see how ridiculous it sounds, and we are only talking about three people!

    When Jesus hung on the cross, He bore every sin of every man who would ever live. His was a perfect sacrifice for sins in every sense of the word, not a partial, limited one. And because He bore every single one of our sins, we always have forgiveness. We are not trying to get it, we have it!

    Romans 5:18 -- Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

    Ephesians 4:32 -- And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

    Colossians 2:13 -- And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

    Colossians 3:13 -- Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

    1 John 1:7 -- But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    1 John 2:12 -- I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

    No mention by Paul

    Paul wrote about two-thirds of the New Testament. Now if confession of sin in order to be forgiven and to be right with God is so important to the believer, then Paul has done us a great injustice by not mentioning it in his letters to us, the church! But you will never find Paul teaching that to the church.

    Confession of sin to be made righteousness appears only once in 1 John 1:9, and it is addressed to non-believers.

    Who is it for?

    The preceding verse itself gives the answer. Let the Bible interpret the Bible!

    1 John 1:8 -- If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    Will a Christian say that he has "no sin"? In the first place, he became a Christian by acknowledging before God that he is a sinner in need of the Saviour! Furthermore, Christians today are so sin-conscious, rather than righteous-conscious.

    Obviously, the verse is not for Christians, but for non-believers who say that they have no sin. John tells such people that they are deceiving themselves. But he also assures them that if they acknowledge that they are sinners, then there is a way out for them -- if they confess their sinfulness to God, God is faithful and just to Christ and His finished work, and will forgive them and wash away all their sins, and make them righteous forever by the blood of His Son.

    Another clue as to why this verse is not for the Christian is the phrase, " the truth is not in us". Christians have the Spirit of truth, which is the Holy Spirit, in them. Non-believers don't.

    John 14:17 -- Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you [after Pentecost].

    What do we do then, when we sin?

    The Greek word for "confess" in 1 John 1:9 is "homologeo". According to Strong's Greek Lexicon, it means "to say the same thing as another, that is, to agree with, assent".

    What are we to say, and in agreement with who?

    I believe that we are to agree with God and say the same thing God says about our sins. That is true confession of sin.

    So, what does God say about our sins?

    * He has removed all of them -- past, present and future sins (Colossians 2:13, 1 John 1:7).
    * He does not keep an account of them nor does He remember them (2 Corinthians 5:19, Romans 4:8, Hebrews 8:12 and Hebrews 10:17).
    * We already have forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 2:13, Colossians 3:13, 1 John 2:12).

    Here is a sample of what I confess when I sin:

    "Father I messed up again. I did xxxxx and I'm sorry. Jesus I'm sorry, Holy Spirit I'm sorry. Lord, change me in this area and help me overcome this sin. I thank you that Jesus is still my righteousness. I thank you that by His blood I am still clean. I believe that Jesus' work on the cross and His blood is 1,000 times more powerful than Adam's work and my sinning. I thank you that you will not record this sin and that, in truth, I already have forgiveness for all the sins I will ever commit because Jesus already bore my lifetime of sins 2,000 years ago. I also thank you that Jesus was punished for my sins so that I will not be punished today. Thank you Father! In Jesus' name I pray, Amen!"

    And move on! That is, continue going to church, reading the Bible, singing praises to God and fellowshipping with Jesus. We don't have to go on a guilt-trip, do penance, back-slide and stay away from church! That would be self-righteousness and dishonouring the finished work of Christ.
     
  5. SavedByGrace3

    SavedByGrace3 Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved Supporter

    +1,247
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    These are sins 'not unto death' as spoken of by John in 1john 5.

    Galatians says that corruption sown in the flesh will reap corruption of the flesh(not spirit).

    In 1 Cor 5 we see a believer who was fornicating who was in danger of being turned over to satan for the destruction of his flesh... that his spirit be saved in the day of the Lord. This man was still saved, but his body (flesh) was about to suffer corruption because of it. If he repented he could be healed.
     
  6. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    To Hobart:

    Galatians talks about losing the Kingdom of God. That sounds like corruption of the Spirit to me!


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  7. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    actually
    unconfessed sin = Jesus didn't finish his job.

    nope Bible says "cleansed of ALL unrighteousness" once we confess our sins.
     
  8. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

    441
    +1
    A familiar line of argument from Andrew!

    However, does it bear close examination?

    1) The 1st Epistle of John (or specifically 1:9) is written to unbelievers not Christians.
    (i) Consistently in the opening verses John speaks of 'we' - '...if we say we have fellowship yet walk in darkness we lie..if we confess our sins he forgives and cleanses us...if we say we have not sinned his truth is not in us...'
    (ii) John goes on to address his readers as 'my little children (2:1), and sets out his purpose as to ensure that they do not sin (as opposed to to convict them of sin so they can repent and be free from it forever) - but if they do (as we all do), they have an advocate. He even says 2Ye are of God, little children..." (4:4)
    (iii) As the letter continues, he deals with such subjects as persecution, the importance of love within the Christian community, testing spirits etc. which are not of concern to those outside the Church.
    (iv) True, he does conclude by expressing the purpose of heloping them to 'believe on the name of the Son of God' - but, given the above, is this talking about an initial confession of faith, or an ongoing security and depth of belief?

    2) Paul does not talk of the need to confess sins committed after conversion.
    Yet he tells the Corithian Church to excommunicate a sinning brother so that hs may see the error of his way and repent. We are also told of the need to rebuke those we see in sin so they can repent and be forgiven and restored. And of the dangers of wilful sinn committed after coming to a knowledge and experience of salvation.

    Of course, all these sins - past, present and future - are forgiven on the basis of Christ's sacrifice made once for all on the cross. Yet to assume that simply praying the sinners prayer once at the start of your Christian life absolves you automatically from any subsequent sins is to presume upon God's grace. We are to strive to live free of sin. But if we fall down, we are to get up and dust ourselves down then continue the race. If we offend against our Father, we need to say 'sorry' to continue enjoying unbroken fellowship with Him (not that we lose our salvation, but our ongoing enjoyment of its benefits is hampered - see Peter's teaching about the need for harmonious marital relations to ensure our prayers are not hampered).

    I'm running out of time, otherwidse I would say more, with clearer Biblical referewnces, but perhaps I may pick this one up later.

    Anthony
     
  9. Blessed-one

    Blessed-one a long journey ahead

    +171
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    i'm just thinking, how is it possible, at the time of conversion, to confess every single sin in life? we just said, Lord, i confess i'm a sinner.
    God knows all our sins, and He's forgiven all our sins.

    Also, before every holy communion, we ask forgiveness for every wrong we did to Him and others.
     
  10. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    Well,

    Anthony, that's my point. -- as long as you say sorry becos you know you have forgiveness already, not to try to work for it or say it becos you dont believe you have it.
     
  11. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    To Andrew:

    That's what Confession IS. You don't "work" for forgiveness through Confession! But you DO have to show a pure heart in telling your sins and showing your repentance. If a Catholic goes to Confession with the idea that he can just walk out the door and start sinning all over again, especially the SAME SIN, then the Confession is bogus.

    Penance given to you by the priest at Confession isn't a "work" to "earn" forgiveness for the sins, either. Penance is something you do to make you focus on GOD, to help you grow closer to Him, to make you aware that your sins have offended Him, and that you truly desire to not offend Him, but please Him and do His will.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  12. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

    441
    +1
    I don't really want to get into discussion on the idea of penance, which is really a separate issue to the main theme of this thread.

    But clearly, when Christians sin (by ommission and commission, knowingly and unknowingly), they need to confess and repent. Not to do so brings consequences in this life (see, for example, Paul's comments about receivng communion 'unworthily') and gives a foothold to the devil which may grow to be major strongholds.

    My question remains; what of those sins which we commit yet do not confess? How do they affect our standing and relationship with God (a) in this life and (b) in the next? And what, if anything, is the solution, particularly for those sins which we die still not having confessed?

    Anthony
     
  13. Blessed-one

    Blessed-one a long journey ahead

    +171
    Protestant
    Single
    i don't think it's possible that there'll be sins unconfessed because before each communion, we confess our sins (God KNOWS all our sins and He FORGIVES all). THe Holy Spirit is very good with pointing out the sins we've committed so we can come to the Father in repentence. Unless you're talking about the way Catholics have to confess every single sin? (just venturing a guess, no offence to Catholics here)
     
  14. calvinist

    calvinist Daniel in the Lion's Den

    48
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    To the original poster:
    Salvation and forgiveness occured on the cross. There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. We are no longer under the law but under grace.
    Seeking Satisfaction in God,
    Calvinist<><
    "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." -John Piper
     
  15. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    TrueLight,

    quote "But clearly, when Christians sin (by ommission and commission, knowingly and unknowingly), they need to confess and repent. Not to do so brings consequences in this life"

    questions:
    1. How do you confess and repent of something you dont even know you're guilty of?
    2. How do you confess all sins when you are not all-knowing. How far back shld you dig? Till the time u were a child? Or can we pick and choose, and just tell a perfect and holy God those sins which we can remember and those which we think are sins to the best of our knowledge? Will God accept that? Or shld we just put our faith in the finished work of Christ.
    3. Consequences in this life? Yes, if you smoke and take drugs, sleep around, you can bet there'll be consequences! But the effects dont come from God. You pick up a live 1000V wire and fry, u dont blame God. So u dont confess to God to escape the 'punishments'.

    When I sin, I simply acknowledge it, tell God I'm sorry BUT in the same breath thank him I already HAVE forgiveness thru Christ (I CONFESS WHAT HE in the Word CONFESSES ABOUT MY SINs -- that's true confession) ie even this sin has been convered by the blood. Then I ask him to continue changing me in this area and I move on.

    pt is: true confession means to "SAY IN AGREEMENT with GOD what HE has SAID ABOUT YOUR SINS!"
    1. Washed away.
    2 Remebered no more.
    3. Righteous by the blood not works.
     
  16. SavedByGrace3

    SavedByGrace3 Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved Supporter

    +1,247
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    Gal 6:
    7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption ; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
     
  17. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

    +62
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    Married
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    "How do you confess all sins when you are not all-knowing. "

    If you sin you'll know it.
     
  18. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

    441
    +1
    Surely that's where the command to 'examine oneself' comes in! If we ask the Lord to reveal to us those things that displease Him, then the Holy spirit will convict us of sins we may not 'naturally' be aware of, and we can then consciously bring them under the blood of Christ. Of course, if God chooses to delay revealing particualr sins to us until a later date, then we cannot be held responsible for not confessing them. And yet, is it not likely they will still, in some way, impair our relationship with the Holy One?

    See my abovde remarks.
    I'm not talking here about past sins, I'm talking about sins committed since coming to active faith in Christ. What we did before our re-birth is, I would say, dealt with at the point of our initial repentance (whether specifically mentioned at the time or not) - we are made new creature, the old passed away. (Though, occasionally, there may be some 'subconscious' ill-effects from pas5t sins which still need to be dealt with in some way - but that is a separate issue.)
    And your question is...?
    When David sinned with Bathsheba and all that ensued, there were certain consequences which could not be averted. Yet had he hardened his heart and not repented, when finally convicted by the word of the prophet, how much greater his punishment!
    Ananias and Sapphira present a (rather extreme!) New Testament example of the same principle. Had they confessed their sin, they might have gone on to live to a ripe old age (even if some of their relationships etc. were damaged). Yet they compounded their sin by lying to the Holy Spirit - covering up that which they felt guilty about, rather than bringing it into the light, as befits children of the light - and bore the consequences.

    That is confession, isn't it?!
    Which follows on from your initial admission of wrong-doing - liturgically the pronouncement of absolution serves the same purpose, while, privately, any true confession of sin will conclude with the giving of thanks that Christ's blood atones for our sin, and rejoicing that we are both forgiven and cleansed!

    Not exactly - that is one way in which the word is used - we 'confess the Word' regarding the salvation that is in Christ.
    But the Bible also tells us to 'confess our sins' - ie admit before God that we have done wrong.
    And, while we are 'confessing the Word', we need to say everything Scripture says on the matter, that our sin is an offence to Him, and, were it not for His mercy, we should expect only judgement! It even tells us to confess one to another, and to pray for each other that we might be delivered from sin's destructive work!


    But, at heart, I think we are arguing more over semantics than the reality of the matter: we both agree that when we wsin we need to 'come clean' and that, when we do, we can also rejoice that Christ's death has taken away our guilt, and we need not fear the just punishment of our sins, for it has already fallen on Him.


    So my original question remains: what if we fall into sin, know that we are in the wrong yet do not own up, say sorry and ask God to deliver us, and die still harbouring that sin in our hearts?

    Anthony
     
  19. Slave2SinNoMore

    Slave2SinNoMore Active Member

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    Andrew,

    Excellent post #4!

    I agree with all that you say! I've read many of your other posts in the past, and it seems liek you and I have a lot of the same stances on issues.

    &nbsp;
     
  20. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'

    +276
    Christian
    Huh? Weren't they all covered at the cross? :scratch:

    But in case they weren't (yeah, right), if you give me a list of the sins that I haven't confessed, I'll confess them right away. But didn't God say that he takes our sins away and places them at the bottom of the sea, as far away from us as the east is from the west and forgets them?

    So if he has forgotten them, how can anyone care about them anymore!
     
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